It was a good day of hitch hiking.
There you were, in the backseat of a Mercedes, grasping at your seat-belt because Frank, your driver, had no interest in pulling over for the cop car. Poor Manon missed what had happened. The only thing her French ears caught was “Gun! Gun!”
Frank was a kick ass 50-something dude with a 9 mobile phones, several “businesses,” and a penchant for speeding. So, when the guard noticed his black Mercedes bombing down the motorway at 110mph, he dropped what he was doing and started running toward his vehicle.
“There he goes, running for his radar gun!” said Frank, and dropped his foot on the gas. That’s when you reached for your seat belt. “If we go now, we can out run him!” 120. 130. 140 miles per hour. Frank maneuvered the vehicle expertly and put distance between himself and the cop, tailing semi-trucks, barreling down the shoulder of the road at times, and further incriminating himself. How many infractions? Speeding, wreckless driving, running from the police, and possession.
He veered off the motorway after 5 minutes and tore down some country back roads. “You don’t mind if we take a 5 minute detour, do you girls?”
No. Not really. Considering that you and Manon were trying to hitch from the west coast of Ireland all the back back east before the sun went down–and considering Frank had been averaging 100 mph and chain smoking the whole way–you figured you could spare the time.
Earlier you’d asked what Frank did for a living. Well, he owned several businesses all over Europe. Flipped them. Spent his whole life traveling. Never stayed in the same place more than 6 months.
“I’ve never seen anyone with 6 mobile phones before,” you’d said.
“I’ve got three more in my bag.”
You didn’t ask why he used so many phones. Why he had so many businesses. Why he owned such a nice car and paid speeding tickets (the ones he stopped for) with reckless abandon. Why he lied to his insurance companies, and yet explained the the secret to good business is to always be honest. “–and, never give credit. Oh, and never accrue debt. I have never used a credit card in my life. If you can’t pay for it, you shouldn’t have it.”
You’d learned another good tip on the trip. As the gentleman said the day before, always listen to your accountant.
Your best guess is that he’s a drug dealer with several money laundering operations. Nice guy. A family man, with two dogs, actually; so he said. Probably liked to smoke a few splifs and party with a couple lines of coke on occasion. Nothing fancy when you’re really in the business.
So this is the image you carried while his car screamed across Ireland. He evaded the first cop, snuck past a second, and still didn’t stop speeding.
…So when the third cop pointed at the car with his radar gun, a moderate distance before the toll, Frank shook his head in defeat and said, “Damn, that guy’s got me.” But he sped up nonetheless. He finally veered the car onto the shoulder five minutes later and began rifling frantically through his bag. You were handed a pile a neatly folded clothes. At last, he found his nugget of hash and slipped it into his pocket. “Just in case. They might want to search the car.” Then he drove on, still speeding.
The toll booth loomed ahead. He’d been telling you and Manon that they’d likely radioed ahead to another guard to keep an eye out for him. “Just going to use this guy for cover,” he said, and tailed a large van up until the booth. Threw his coins in, and gunned it past another cop car, unnoticed.
You’d think that after dodging four cops, he’d slow down and play by the rules. But it seemed like it was all a game to him. He lit another cigarette.
Frank had driven you over 200 kilometers, then drove an additional 40 kms out of his way, and dropped you at the front door of Sli Na Bande. “Wouldn’t want you two to have to hitch in the rain.” You thanked him earnestly. He drove off, amused.
It was a good day of hitch hiking.